Hunter take next step at Interbranch

Co-captain Lisa Wright was the only surviving Hunter squad member to know what it felt like to stand on the podium at the NSW Interbranch surf lifesaving titles before Sunday.
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Hunter take next step at Interbranch CLEAR RUNNING: Hunter youth division star Nicola Owen sprints up Stockton Beach on Saturday during the NSW Interbranch surf lifesaving championships. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

ONE-TWO: Hunter’s Zara Foran, left, and Tiana Sargeant after the under 12s board.

LEADING THE WAY: Hunter co-captain Daniel Collins in the open ironman.

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 2 action. Tiana Sargeant. Picture: Bronte Smith

Day 2 action. Lily Costello. Picture: Bronte Smith

Day 2 action. Hayden Copping. Picture: Bronte Smith

TweetFacebookCaptains Daniel Collins & Lisa Wright accept 3rd place plaque as Hunter celebrate their @slsnsw Interbranch breakthrough @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/zVgvz6DK8F

— Craig Kerry (@craigkerry77) December 10, 2017Hunter on the podium at @slsnsw Interbranch for 1st time in 14 years @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/sDgjtSo09T

— Craig Kerry (@craigkerry77) December 10, 2017

Daniel Collins, 21, missed the event last year while on the Nutri-Grain ironman series and debuted as a captain on the weekend. He said the squad’s depth andstandout performances from Zara Foran (under 12s) and Nicola Owen(under 17) pointed to more success in the future.

“For a lot of the young kids, it won’t really sink in yet,” Collins said of the bronze.

“Especially for those in their second or third years. They’ll think ‘we came fourth last year and now we’re third’, but it’s something that’s been in the making for a long time and it’s really exciting to get third and build into next year.

“I think at one stage we were within reach of second and getting close to Sydney, and that’s good.Depth has always been our problem but across all the age groups, we’ve had some really good results this weekend.”

Head coach Tim Foran said the return of Collins, Wright and Kieran Gordon in the opens and an impressive points haul from the under 12s were factors in Hunter’s rise tothird.

“We just had a really nice team feel about it, which has been a few years in the process,” he said.

“After the first six or seven events today, we hadn’t been worse than second. Then we had some really good results in the rescue tube rescue races, which we didn’t go that well in last year.Our Cameron relays were good and we won just about every board relay going.”

Hundreds ofathletes from the 11 NSW branches competed at Stockton, which proved a suitable venue despite concerns last week aboutbeach erosion.

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